If you are not familiar with the current popular culture terminology, millennials are the ones born between 1981 and 1996. This is the generation that is more than aware of the brand ‘wellness’ and goes out of its way to stay ahead of the health curve. You can see them joining one or the other fitness class, wearing fitness devices, eating consciously and talking fitness at a dinner party. Now if we observe closely, we can find some very clear behavioral patterns when it comes to millennials.
However, as per an American study has done a while back, about 45% of the respondents have been putting off a health issue, of which 41% have been doing so for more than a year. Why they would do it, you ask. Well, about 42% said they feel healthy, 39% were too busy and 31% found it not to be convenient. Now those are some telling statistics. Since going to a doctor was found too inconvenient, it should not come as a surprise that 73% of these millennials were found looking for medical advice online. In fact, a vast number of them trust online sources to correctly diagnose their symptoms and the majority of them won’t see a doctor who isn’t online.
Now, how is India faring when it comes to millennials and health? Well, to start with, not too bad. A recent study by Practo found that Indians visited their doctors 3.2 times a year in 2018, up from 2.7 times in 2017. As per the report, Indians consult 2.6 times online – 2.7 times in metros and 2.6 times in non-metros. Reading up doctors and healthcare facilities, looking up the symptoms and treatment options, connecting with the doctors through emails, social apps, seeking online consultations, fixing online appointments and buying medicines online are some of the ways new and young India is dealing with health in the digital age.
What is driving this change? Clearly, this generation has the advantage of unparalleled access to digital resources like never before and they are making the most of it. With a median age of 29 years and about 65% of its population below the age of 35, Indians are actively leveraging the digital medium to connect with doctors. Besides, healthcare infrastructure is still not as proportionately distributed across cities and towns. Providing information and medical help online is an efficient way to bring healthcare within and accessible range for all.
Going forward, we can expect more health-related conversations moving digital and it becomes imperative for healthcare providers – doctors, hospitals – to make themselves available both online and offline.